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Author Topic: Gawker  (Read 1023 times)

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theinevitable

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Gawker
« on: August 19, 2016, 03:17:25 pm »

I am struggling with the whole thing about Gawker.
People are talking about it as "billionaire doesn't like a news outlet and gets it shut down."
But from where I stand it looks like "maybe-sometimes-good journalistic outlet also publishes vile trash that violates people's privacy, refuses to take it down and is incredibly arrogant about it, and gets slapped down mightily."
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Re: Gawker
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2016, 03:53:25 pm »

This is seen as a Very Bad Thing by people who I trust have a deeper understanding of journalism than I do.

If a billionaire can shut down people from writing about him for something like this, he could do it for other things that we might agree need to be reported. And this was not some little blog or something. Even large news outlets don't have a lot of money lying around to defend themselves in court, and a guy like this can afford to pay his lawyers basically forever. So the concern seems valid to me. There is a general issue that rises above the icky nature of the particular story this turns on.
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Carlos del Vaca

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Re: Gawker
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2016, 04:19:05 pm »

Mother Jones apparently staved off a similar case, but at great expense. http://www.motherjones.com/media/2015/10/mother-jones-vandersloot-melaleuca-lawsuit

Yeah, on the whole I think it's a Bad Thing. The days of "Guess who's gay!" being a relevant news story are long gone, and they needed to not do that shit. But on the whole, the implications of rich people being able to control their press coverage are far bigger.
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Carlos del Vaca

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Re: Gawker
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2016, 04:19:40 pm »

Are the other sites (Deadspin, Jalopnik, etc.) all shutting down in the immediate future too, or just Gawker proper?
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wombat

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Re: Gawker
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2016, 04:48:43 pm »

As I understand it, all the other sites were bought by Univision and are going to continue.
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Re: Gawker
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2016, 06:28:17 pm »

For whatever reason, I confuse Univision with Telemundo and I was picturing the sites re-launching with Google Translate Spanish versions of the content.
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Re: Gawker
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2016, 06:36:34 pm »

Well they are a Spanish-language TV company but I guess they have been branching out - I was surprised to learn they already own a big chunk of The Onion. Business don't seem to believe in, like, focusing on something, anymore.
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Re: Gawker
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2016, 07:03:15 pm »

For a while there, businesses seemed to be shutting down side projects, stating they were going to be "focusing on their core competencies".  That trend seems to have reversed.
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miles

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Re: Gawker
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2016, 01:32:11 am »

Well they are a Spanish-language TV company but I guess they have been branching out - I was surprised to learn they already own a big chunk of The Onion. Business don't seem to believe in, like, focusing on something, anymore.

Well I guess this business is focusing on becoming an even bigger media conglomerate.

I'm with you Inev, Gawker has done some bad things. It's not like Thiel fabricated the Hulk Hogan incident. He certainly exploited it for a kind of petty reason but Gawker was so clearly in the wrong here.

But yeah, it's kind of terrifying when you consider that Thiel is an enthusiastic Trump backer, and Trump talks about how he wants to "open up" libel laws, and these aren't two guys on the political fringe, and Christ, it's not so hard to imagine that depending on what happens in November, a few billionaires with fragile egos and thin skin could probably have a strong chilling effect on the freedom of the press. Worst case scenario probably, and thank God for the other two branches, but it's kinda scary.
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wombat

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Re: Gawker
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2016, 12:32:39 am »

Quote
Gawker always said it was in the business of publishing true stories. Here is one last true story: You live in a country where a billionaire can put a publication out of business. A billionaire can pick off an individual writer and leave that person penniless and without legal protection.

If you want to write stories that might anger a billionaire, you need to work for another billionaire yourself, or for a billion-dollar corporation. The law will not protect you. There is no freedom in this world but power and money.
http://gawker.com/gawker-was-murdered-by-gaslight-1785456581
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Re: Gawker
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2016, 04:23:22 am »

On the one hand, yeah, it's scary to think that a billionaire can have such a direct effect on the news, although it happens all the time behind the scenes. On the other hand, Gawker was clearly in the wrong and got what was coming to them.
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theinevitable

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Re: Gawker
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2016, 01:34:09 pm »

What paul said.

I think people give themselves away when they compare what they did to something entirely different. Like comparing posting someone's sex tape to reporting inaccurate information or "wrong" opinions. It ain't illegal to be wrong.
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Re: Gawker
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2016, 04:04:37 pm »

It's interesting that you both think it's such a clear judgment that it was wrong. The legal system didn't think so, as that article points out:

Quote
Hoganís first two attempts to pursue it, in federal court, went nowhere, with judges ruling that the publication was newsworthy and protected.

Maybe I am seeing this from an insider perspective, but to me, the Times publishing plagiarized, wrong, or fake stories, are not entirely different from this. All of these things came about from bad editorial judgement, and the Times cases probably have worse effects.
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Re: Gawker
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2016, 04:02:48 am »

My understanding is that the video was taken without Hulk Hogan's knowledge and published without his consent. If it's not clearly wrong, it's at the very least a really shitty thing to do.

The more I think about it, how is it just not plain wrong?
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Re: Gawker
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2016, 11:28:22 am »

You could go read the court decision and see what they argue. But news doesn't require knowledge and consent - like if I video the Queen stealing a car, I don't need her permission to publicize that, because it's news that the public has a need to know. So presumably they decided it was news but life is too short for me to spend time contemplating anything about why celebrities and sex is news.

But again - the real point isn't even whether it's wrong. It's that other prominent news outlets have done things that are unambiguously wrong, and they were not put out of business. That's not how it's supposed to work. It's a complicated business where, like in any other, mistakes will be made. And the consequences of the mistakes shouldn't turn on who has the most money to win a court case.
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